Works on paper and canvas.
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Rowena Comrie was a finalist in this year’s ASPECT Prize and I first encountered her work in January at the Fleming Collection in London, where she exhibited along with the other three finalists. I found the strong, emotive power of her colour very compelling, and before long we were in conversation. Comrie moved to Glasgow from Aberdeen in 2009, and now lives ‘locally’, so to speak, and has her studio in the Briggait.
Comrie was born in Southend-on-Sea and trained in Fine Art at Reading University, graduating with honours in 1982. The painting school at Reading was in the hands of Sir Terry Frost until 1981, and Comrie’s abstract aesthetic has its roots in his department. She moved to Aberdeen in 1988 and continued to paint on a professional basis for the next twenty years, whilst also teaching and managing workshops. Recent exhibitions have been held at the Meffan in Forfar (2010), the Tolbooth Art Centre, Kirkcudbright (2010) and the Rendez-vous Gallery, Aberdeen (2011).
Sailing on the Firth of Clyde has been a major source of experience which has fed into her art in recent months, and it is no accident that nautical vocabulary has supplied titles for most of the works in this exhibition. She says : ‘The work is a response to the extreme weather and exhilarating conditions that occurred, in particular sailing through the night.’ Scottish art is renowned for its love of strong colour. With their only very slight reference to the objective world, Rowena Comrie’s paintings bring art closer to the condition of music.
Artists in this exhibition
Of this year’s finalists, Rowena Comrie’s sweeping colourful statements have a boldness rarely achieved.
There is energy and drama in each piece.